Sunday, November 11, 2012

Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

I made this and promise is out-of-this-world good.  Especially if you like fall/pumpkin sorts of things. I didn't add the pecans because I don't like nuts much, and I never made the whipped cream.  Call me crazy, but I like good ol' Cool Whip better than the real stuff.  Maple syrup would be good too.  But to be honest, it was so yummy, I don't know if you need anything on top! 

Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
For the French Toast
  • 1 14 ½ – ounce can pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus more for garnish
    For the cinnamon whipped cream
  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, heavy cream, whole milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves and nutmeg. Whisk until the mixture is homogeneous. Add in the cubes of French bread and toss to coat well.
    3. Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 glass baking pan and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes or overnight so that the bread can absorb the custard (store, covered, in the refrigerator if preparing the night before). Sprinkle chopped pecans over the top of the French toast mixture and bake about 40 minutes until set in the center.
    4. Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon whipped cream by using a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer to beat the heavy whipping cream together with the sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon (I add the cream to the bowl first, followed by the other ingredients; this helps the flavorings to be incorporated into the cream more easily). It’s best to begin with the mixer at medium speed so as not to slosh the cream out of the bowl, but as it starts to thicken, you can increase the speed in order to help it whip up faster. Whip until soft peaks form (when you lift the beater, a soft peak should appear and the tip should fold over). Be careful not to over-whip the cream; doing so will result in a denser texture that may be grainy.
    5. Allow the French toast to cool slightly before serving. Top each portion with cinnamon whipped cream and additional chopped pecans if desired.

    Cub Scouts

     A month or two ago Treyton found his nitch...Cub Scouts!
     He loves it!  Everything about it.  I remember my dad and brother being actively involved all my life and know that it is an amazing program.
     This particular week they learned about "rescue heroes".  They met local firefighters, police officers, search and rescue dogs, etc.
    They follow a pledge/promise that goes:
    I, (name), promise to do my best,
    To do my duty to God and my country,
    To help other people, and
    To obey the Law of the Pack.
    I was curious what the Law of the Pack was so I looked it up:
    The Cub Scout follows Akela.
    The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
    The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
    The Cub Scout gives goodwill.
    And the Cub Scout motto:
    Do your best.
    A great reminder for all of us!

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Happy Halloween! 2012

    Brielle (3) Giraffe, Treyton (7) Mad Scientist, Galina (5) Madeline, Ainsley (1) as herself
    Here we go....Happy Halloween!

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    These Kids Have it Good

    This was NOT my definition of a "wagon ride" when I was growing up.

    Stinking lucky kids!
    This has nothing to do with anything but I just thought it was an amusing scene:  Bryce sitting with a couple of kids, trying to read a 60 page tiny book (of which he's been reading for months, by the way), and holding a fuzzy white bear.
    Did he ever imagine?
    Way to go Rocketman!


    You've heard of breakfast in bed, right?
    Well, not everyone has time for that.
     Especially in our house.  And if you're the 4th kid.
    We now do breakfast in the bath....a.k.a KITCHEN SINK...oh the humanity
    Has it really come to this?

    Brielle Turned 3!

    My sweet little baby turned 3 this past month.
    I asked her what she wanted to do on her special day, and she said she wanted her friend Amy to come over.  This was great news since Amy's mom, Wenfang, is one of my favorite people!  She came to chat as the girls played.
    Then came lunch, naps, and speech therapy.  This was the last session and so fitting to be on her birthday.
    Miss Jessica comes to our house and helps her through play.
    Can anyone say "dream job"?  Playing with kids and getting paid for it...she picked the right career!
    We were praying for Miss Jessica since she and her husband wanted a baby of their own.  After a year of trying, no luck.  But then one day she told us some good news!  She is expecting.  We also got to pray for her during the scary time (1st 12 weeks) and finding out the gender (boy).  The baby is due in Jan.  I made her promise that she would let us come and meet him.  :) 
    Brielle's not big on meals out...doesn't really like hamburgers or hotdogs or pizza.  So I asked her what she wanted for dinner on her birthday.  Pretty easy kid.  Yogurt and cereal is all she wanted.  I had to throw in some eggs to help bring the meal together.
    She has a sweet tooth like her mommy.  The cake she picked out was cherry chip with sprinkle frosting.  I sorta flopped it out of the pan ungracefully and attempted to repair.  Below are the results of my multi-layered mess.
    She didn't care.
    She liked the candles.
    I love her Brielle!
    Brother and sister sharing some love.
    Here are a couple of her gifts.  Brielle LOVES Dora.  She picked this gift out herself.
    She also enjoys playdough. 
    The gift that created peace in my house for hours! All my kids like playdough.
    Brielle, you are just a little piece of heaven we get to enjoy here on Earth!  Happy birthday my precious, dear little girl.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Election 2012

    Well, it's hard to beat Santa Claus.  Near impossible.  Thanks for that, Rush.

    I came across a blog entry that I thought was encouraging.  God is on His throne and in THAT, we can rest.  Here's the post....

    Election 2012
    Written by Lana Williams

    Because I am immensely blessed to be a citizen of the United States of America, I will soon go to the polls to vote.

    I will not vote for a Savior. There is one Savior for our world. He came and he died for us and he is coming again. He is the Living God, the Savior of all men, in whom we put our hope. 1 Tim 4: 10.

    I will not vote for a King. My King alone is immortal. He is THE King of all kings, the Lord of all lords. 1 Tim 6:15

    I will not vote for an Ultimate Authority. My Lord has all authority in heaven and earth Matt 28:17.

    There is none...not one...who will not bow before Him. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place, and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

    I pray that those elected will become righteous leaders for our country. I believe that, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Proverbs 14:34. And I will put my trust in God for His ways are not always my ways.

    By doing that, on the day after the election, whether my emotions are high or low, whatever the condition of my flesh, I will rejoice in God my Maker. I will pray for my leaders and I will pledge allegiance “to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God....” I will renew my pledge of allegiance to my Savior and I will choose to set my mind on “things above, not on earthly things” Colossians 3: 2.

    I am prayed up and I am read up. I have listened to my Lord and am confident in my decisions. I will vote, placing the future of all those I love in the capable hands of the Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

    When You Go to the Store, Get Onions

    Make this. 
    I am not kidding you, it's divine!  I love, love, LOVE French Onion Soup.  The other day I found a recipe for French Onion Soup Casserole.  I decided to bite the bullet and cut the darn onions.  I hate that job.  Truth be told, however, it wasn't that bad.  And the results were SO worth it.
    French Onion Soup Casserole
    2-3 Tbs butter or margarine
    3 large sweet onions or 4 medium white or yellow onions (I used a couple extra)
    2 c. shredded Swiss cheese (8 oz.)
    1 can cream of chicken soup
    2/3 c. milk
    1 tsp. soy sauce
    8 or so slices of French bread (any bread will do)
    Slice onions. Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat, and add onions. Saute onions until clear, a little brown is ok. In a shallow 2 qt. casserole pan, layer onions, 2/3 of cheese and pepper to taste.

    In a sauce pan, heat soup, milk, and soy sauce, stirring to blend. Pour soup mixture in a casserole and stir gently to mix. Top with bread slices. Bake at 350 uncovered for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, top of bread should be nice and toasted.

    Push bread slices under the sauce and top with the remaining cheese.

    Place casserole back in oven and finish baking for 15 more minutes.


    First Day of School

    It is now almost fall break, and I realize that I never shared our first day of school pictures.
    Here's Treyton on his first day of first grade.
     Toothless kid.
     I was NOT thinking that dropping him off this year would be harder than last year.  But it was.  It caught me off guard.  I suppose it was due to the fact that he'd be gone ALL DAY.  Oh, how sad!  Still after months of school, I miss him right around lunch time.  But part of parenting is letting go.  I have to let him grow and learn and spread his wings.
     Brielle started preschool this year!  
    She absolutely LOVES it. She would go every day if she could!
     It helped that she knew the teacher before school began.  Ms. Deb was the assistant teacher to Galina's class last year.  Her kids go to Treyton's school.  Her son was on Treyton's baseball team.  She also saw Ms. Deb at VBS this summer.
     So Brielle was very comfortable when she entered the classroom on day 1.
     I finally got to let go of Galina so she could run to her class!  She loves school too.  And as an extrovert, it fills a significant need in her life.  Which helps all who live with Galina.
     She got right to work.
     WITH ENTHUSIASM!  But then again, most things Galina does with enthusiasm.  It's one of the traits I love best about her.
    Have a great school year, kids!

    Nothing Much

    This post may be boring, mundane.  But sometimes that's how life is. 
    Ainsley is growing so very, very fast.  She's such a joy!  Her middle name fits her perfectly (Joy).
     Treyton's keeping himself busy with Legos and creative play.  He has such a great imagination!
    See what I mean?
     I just love this.  Such a boy!
     My girls!  What a blessing from the Lord.
    Galina does have a new pursuit...piano!  She enjoys music so much I thought it might be fun.  Class is but I'm not sure I'd say the same about practicing.  We'll see how long she lasts.
    But for now, I'm simply enjoying the one-on-one time I get to spend with her.
    Making messes is Ainsley's daily pursuit. 
    The girls with their girls.
    We've also had some bears around our yard recently.  A bit scary if you ask me!
    The kids have been in swim lessons this past month at the rec center.
    It's hard to make them stop long enough for a picture!
    Hugs galore around our house.
    Treyton and Galina love to create little "worlds".  Who knows what they were up to here, but they are often found deep in play and don't want to be disturbed. 
    I love how they are such good friends!
    Occasionally in the mornings we will see a hot air balloon.
    On this day it landed right near our mailbox!  Bryce was home and took them down to see it. 

    By the way, our mailbox is 691 steps from our front door.  That was part of a homework assignment Galina had.  Her teacher had no idea what she did to me when she assigned us to count the number of steps to our mailbox, the number of trees in our front yard among other things.  But as I was doing that with her, I was reminded how very, very, VERY blessed to live where we do.  We absolutely love it.
    When the kids cuddle together it makes my heart melt.  Takes my breath away.
    Especially if there is a book nearby!
    Ainsley and Daisy.  My "oldest baby" and my youngest.  What a good dog she is!  Except when she eats poop which is a whole other topic.
    She is such a smiley kid, I can't help but be lifted in spirit because of her!
    All our kiddos LOVE to dress up.  It's fun to see what they come out with sometimes.
    And since I'm such a baker, there is never a shortage of spatulas to lick.
    So that's life right now.  And what a good one it is!